Athletics New Zealand Preview 14 Feb 2013
Three Athletics New Zealand Championships this weekend
Three New Zealand athletic championship events will be staged this weekend in various locations in the country.
The national combined events championships will be held on Saturday and Sunday at the Douglas Track and Field at Waitakere, the half marathon championship will be run in conjunction with the ISC Lenco event in Wellington on Sunday and the junior 3000m titles will be decided at the Harold Nelson Classic meeting in Nelson on Saturday.
New Zealand Combined Events Championships – Auckland, Sat & Sun 16 & 17 Feb
Nicholas Gerrard will be up against Scott McLaren in his defence of the national decathlon title. McLaren (30) the 2003 champion improved his total score in the decathlon to 7733 in Austria last May. Gerrard has a best of 6884 from winning the title in Palmerston North last year.
McLaren said that he is looking for a good score. “I had a 10.93s 100m on Saturday, I’m in good shape and ready to go. The world champs are in the back of the mind and the B standard of 8000 points,” he said.
McLaren is disappointed that Brent Newdick, who is recovering from minor surgery, is not competing. “Having Brent there would have put some pressure on me, it’s disappointing not to have a full field.”
Portia Bing should win her first senior heptathlon title. Bing was fifth at the world junior championships in Barcelona last year. Her best score is 5653. On Saturday at the Porritt Classic meeting she recorded a personal best 100m hurdles in 13.94s.
With Rebecca Wardell retired and Sarah Cowley, champion for the last two years opting for the high jump this season, the stage is set for a new champion to emerge.
Jesse Bryant, last season’s youth octathlon champion, and Pascal Kethers look set to battle out the junior decathlon, while North Island youth champion Callum Taylor and Aaron Booth should prevail in the youth octathlon.
Paige Harwood North Island champion with 5029 and Stephanie Dickins last year’s champion are the leading two in the junior heptathlon.
Amy Robinson who has set two New Zealand records this season as a member of the relay team at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival and on Saturday in the 300m hurdles looks set for a bold showing in the youth heptathlon. Natasha Eady, the North Island champion, is also entered in the youth event.
New Zealand Half Marathon Championships – Wellington, Sunday 17 Feb
Stephen Lett, the 2011 national half marathon champion, Dougal Thorburn, Rowan Hooper, Rees Buck and the New Zealand marathon champion Tony Payne are the leading contenders for the half marathon title in Wellington. Also in the masters grades Grant McLean M45-49 is expected to feature amongst the top finishers.
Alex Williams should add the half title to the full marathon national crown won in Auckland last October. Williams has a best half of 1h 17m 40s in Buller last year. Giving plenty of competition to Williams will be Gabrielle O’Rourke who has a best of 1h 17m 52s from the Wellington ISC race last year. Victoria Jackson third in the Auckland marathon in 2010 will also be up with the leading pace.
New Zealand Junior 3000m Championships – Nelson, Saturday 16 Feb
Jacob Priddey will be chasing the junior 3000m title in Nelson on Saturday. Priddey the national M16 cross country and road champion ran a personal best 1500m last Saturday in Hamilton, and comes into the race with the fastest 3000m time of 8m 37.26s. Mike Lowe with 8m 46.04s in the next fastest in the field. Also chasing a medal will be Jeff Lautenslager and Joe Beamish.
Audrey Gregan, fifth in the senior 3000m championship in 9m 42.52s in Wellington last month should take out the junior women’s title. Gregan was second in the 3000m at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival. The other medals should go to Olivia Ritchie best of 10m 4.35s and Jess Martin who has a best of 10m 26.20s.l.